Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Routine of some sort

Nora is now in her fifth week and according to our baby book we can expect her first smile, and 'wonderful' cooing and gurgling sounds to communicate with us. Of course we think she's been smiling from day one, but apparently that hasn't been the case.

It looks like we've established some sort of routine:

Morning: early morning feed in the big bed, falling asleep again, for me an opportunity to have breakfast and a shower, doing household chores, then waking up, feeding and 'alert-time'. Usually we go for a walk in the neighbourhood with the pram. Alert-time quickly transfers into sleep-time.

Afternoon: lunch for me, depending on when Nora wakes up for another feed. Then alert-time, either in the rocking chair, the baby box, or on her play mat. More household chores for me. With music :-). This also transfers into sleep-time, which is a cue for me to get some zzzz's too. Waking up, more feeding, more being alert, sometimes in the sling, sometimes we go out for another walk, sometimes we do nothing when she's happy to just look around - and then fall asleep again.

Age comes home from work, there's another feed, often a bath, and then at some stage we'll transfer her to her cradle for The Night after she's fallen asleep again. We have done then some cooking for ourselves too somewhere during all this.

Evening / nights: early to bed for me, usually a feed late evening, one in the middle of the night and then one early morning. Two nights ago she suddenly decided to sleep a bit longer through the night, and that made a big difference in my well-being - except for my exploding breasts!

Nora in the sling. Not a great pic, but hey - you can see that it's quite cosy :-)

- Evelyn

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Yes, we are tired :-)

We probably survived the first two weeks with Nora on adrenaline, but last week tiredness kicked in big time. It's just like having a major jet lag, sound and vision is a second behind reality, multitasking is impossible, as well as remembering things that happened a minute ago. Having a conversation is difficult too, so Lois and Richard, who are over from Canberra to support us with the daily things for a week, must have thought multiple times that they were dealing with someone with early onset dementia.
I remember (yes, I do) that one evening at the dining table they were sitting opposite me, chatting, both in striped tops, and their bodies became one stripy sea, and their voices a nice background murmur :-). I must not have been very responsive and that evening my bedtime was about a quarter past eight...

Apart from the tiredness, it has been really good to see Lois and Richard again. I think it must have been nearly two years since we last met, in Adelaide that was - when Age and I were deciding on moving from NZ to Oz. They came up with the idea to narrow the gap between Age returning to work and my mum arriving, which worked out to be great foresight with me having undergone a c-section and in need of some extra help. So they packed their little caravan and drove from Canberra to us, put the caravan up at a beachside campsite, and have been visiting me each day last week, did all the shopping, some household chores, and more. Very much appreciated!
Next week they'll continue their travels, exploring the Eyre Peninsula and then with a wide circle back to Canberra.
Their planning was also great, because Age had to go to Brisbane on a work trip, which meant that with L & R close by I wouldn't be completely left to my own devices.

At the moment Nora feeds every 2, 3, or 4 hours, whenever she wants really, and she is doing very well. Age gives her the late evening feed, so that I can get a bit more uninterrupted sleep, after which he may or may not go to the spare bedroom for some uninterrupted sleep - he is a working man after all - and I in turn do the 3.30am feed.
As fatigue kept building over the last couple of days, we decided that I could do with a full night's sleep, so I expressed enough breast milk for three feeds, went to bed early yesterday night, while Age took care of Nora during the night. He'll probably collapse later today, but I'm nicely refreshed and replenished :-)

Then some Nora-stats:
She has been weighed again and is now 3kg, and she is 51cm tall. We sort of knew she's been growing, as her size 50 outfits are getting a bit small (could also be from my washing and drying skills). Size 56 is still a bit large, but getting more and more comfy and snug. A nurse came by to do her measurements, and that was the first time Nora went completely mental. Terrible! And that lady took her time with everything, filling in questionnaires, letting me fill in questionnaires, explaining community services and more crap. Then she picked up Nora to calm her down, but she did that so vigorously, that I could only stare wide-eyed at her.

I am one of those people who have never understood the necessity of swaying your baby wildly around in your arms, at the same time madly patting their bum - I thought smacking kids was prohibited??? I see mums doing this all around me, but to me it looks like they are misinterpreting well-meant advice. I read something too, about settling your baby: with soft pats on their tummy or back in the same rhythm as mum's heartbeat - just like in the womb. Well, my heartbeat was never above 200bpm, let alone being so vigorous that it would shake baby out of the womb.

- Evelyn

Monday, 6 May 2013

Nora's first week

I'll see how far I get with this post before duty calls again. It's amazing how the time flies when you're on a four-hourly feeding schedule - you can't really do a thing besides eating, a load of laundry, resting,...
Celebrating Nora's first birthday: 1 week old :-)

Nora and I were allowed to come home on Thursday, and off we went. We strapped her in the maxi-cosi, which looked ridiculously big on her, and we were quite concerned whether she was able to breathe at all. We got a midwife to check on that, and apparently everything was fine.

I kept hearing the service bells the first two days at home. Everyone on the ward has these bells you can ring to have a midwife come to your room, and as my room was located close to the nurses' station, I heard everyone's bells going. And they go off continuously.

So there we were, at home. The very first thing that happened was that I stepped with my big feet on Minnie, who was so happy to see me that she got under my feet. She yelped, I yelped, and then I burst out in tears from sheer shock. I could have died from a heart attack there and then. Age's 'how to calm down a crying woman'-skills came in handy again.

After a couple of feeds we found some sort of routine in where to put things (left or right on the change table), when to wash things (continuously), what to use to tuck Nora in (blanket, towel, muslin wrap?), when to check for her nappy (before, during or after a feed), etc. I think we now seem to be working as a good team, Nora included.

Of course the very first night at home was the worst night we've had so far with almost zero sleep and an unsettled baby. Firstly that had to do with Nora being crampy, and secondly, with our inexperience, because we'd just missed the fact that at some stage she'd a wet nappy, which had soaked through her three or four layers of clothing. She must have been quite uncomfortable, and she was, but we'd never thought of checking her back. When we finally found that out and changed her into dry clothes and a dry nappy, she was knockout within seconds. Steep learning curve.

We've also bathed her now twice and she loves it! It's very cute to see her floating in the water, looking up at Age who's holding her in some sort of Kung Fu grip. We've been out and about a couple of times, to get some fresh air, and to get me walking too. My first outing with Nora was with the pram, only 500m I think, including a rest on a bench, and it was exhausting.
Then Age and I went for a stroll yesterday with Nora in the sling (draagdoek). After watching a couple of videos on how to tie the sling, as it basically is a 4m long piece of cloth, we put her in it and were ready to go. But again, we thought it quite scary as she's so well tucked in, so how do you know she's not suffocating in there? So we did go out, but cut the stroll short, as we found ourselves checking on her breating almost every step on the way. I do think she loved it, being secure and warm against me, but we probably will wait till she has a bit more control over her head before we'll use the sling again.

And today we went out again, with the pram, and that was quite a success. Lovely weather, Nora vast asleep, and I nearly back at my normal walking pace - except when there's a slight slope uphill.

Pain-wise this c-section hasn't been bad at all. I'm actually extremely surprised at how well it all goes. I do take pain relief in the form of panadol and ibuprofen, and I'll be probably off it quite soon. The most pain I have comes from all the bruising. The lower part of my belly is completely black at the moment, and will probably see all the colors of the rainbow in the coming weeks. And the most difficult thing to do in terms of movement has been getting in and out of bed. But I can feel myself getting stronger now with each day.

Every other day we've been visited by a midwife, who checks my wound, my belly, asks how everything is going, weighs Nora, and checks her jaundice (geelzucht) levels. These visits are quick and efficient, but good enough to ask any questions.

All in all I think the first week at home has been great, and we have some nice teamwork going. Kudos for Age, who's been serving me delicious food in the morning, afternoon and evenings :-). Breastfeeding makes ravenous I found out, I'm eating like a tradie!